South Africa Denies Campaign Against African National Congress
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ The government has denied involvement in what a newspaper called a campaign of attacks by suspected South African agents against members of the banned African National Congress.
The attacks had ″dealt a severe blow to the movement’s military capacity,″ Business Day, a respected Johannesburg daily reported Friday.
Business Day is usually critical both of South African government policy and of the guerrilla movement’s violence.
The ANC, outlawed since 1960, is fighting to topple the white-led South African government and end apartheid. The government refuses to negotiate with the movement until it disavows violence.
By law and custom, apartheid establishes a racially segregated society in which the 25.6 million blacks have no vote in national affairs. The 5 million whites control the economy and keep separate housing, schools and health services.
On Thursday, a British court remanded into custody a Briton and two other whites believed to be Zimbabweans who were accused of conspiring to kidnap movement members in London last October.
Foreign Minister R.F. Botha was asked to comment on the London case, the Foreign Ministry reported, adding that ″he knew nothing of the matter and thus had no comment.″
A spokesman for the National Intelligence Service also denied that agency was involved in the case.
″Should we be accused of such a plot, then it is totally untrue because we are not involved at all,″ the unidentified spokesman was quoted as telling the South African Press Association, the national news agency.
Business Day said a series of attacks in neighboring Swaziland in recent months ″appear to point to a new pattern of action against the ANC.
″Instead of the customary - and often indiscriminate - South African commando blitz, unidentified hit men, widely believed to be from South Africa, have picked off ANC targets at will,″ the newspaper said.
Business Day quoted Tom Lodge, an expert on the movement at Johannesburg’s Witwatersrand University, as saying there appears to be ″a concerted campaign of late against ANC figures,″ especially in Swaziland, a black kingdom wedged between South Africa and Mozambique.
On July 9 in Swaziland, three white men in a car killed two men and a woman, all blacks, as they rode in a taxi from the airport. The movement later acknowledged the dead men were members of their organization. The assailants have not been reported captured.
Up to 16 people were reported killed in such incidents in Swaziland in recent months.
On Thursday, two policemen and a suspect were killed in a shootout in the South African-created black homeland of Ciskei. Police said the suspect had two AK-47 automatic rifles and explosives, which are standard weapons used by the guerrillas.
An alleged guerrilla member, Ashley Kriel, was killed in a scuffle with police who had come to arrest him last week in Cape Town, authorities said.
The United Democratic Front, South Africa’s main anti-apartheid movement, demanded an investigation into claims that Kriel, 22, was beaten up and handcuffed before being shot.
The government, under its emergency powers, imposed restrictions on Kriel’s funeral, banning flags, banners and pamphlets, and limiting the number of mourners to 800.
Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu was among 400 people who attended a memorial service for Kriel Thursday night.
Friday night, Tutu went to the home of Kriel’s mother, Ivy, and prayed with her. Mrs. Kriel had said in newspaper interviews this week that she was not aware of her son’s political activities until she read about them in the press after his death.
But she told journalists Friday night she had ″no regrets″ about her son’s alleged involvement with the guerrilla movement.